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May is the time when the beautiful island of Ibiza starts to come to life once again. Usually, Ibiza should be now getting ready to inaugurate a busy summer season, with the opening of its famous clubs and discotheques and of a wide range of first class accommodations, ready to welcome most demanding guests travelling to the Island to enjoy Med’s ultimate destination for clubbers.

https://www.nobuhotelibizabay.com/

2021 will still have to wait a bit longer to see the island at its best. The re-opening after a year of restrictions will be more paused and controlled so as to secure the stable situation Balearic Islands have reached. But no worries! We are sure there are many ways to discover Ibiza for those first-time visitors, in a more tranquil pace but, at the same time, genuine. Experts will find also their way to best attractions and best hotels and, we are quite sure, to a renewed way to enjoy Mediterranean nights.

At the moment, the official event calendar for summer 2021 gives as confirmed some parties in July-September period. Events organised under the most strict anti-Covid measures and with limited assistance so, most likely it will be possible to enjoy, even if not 100%, discotheques and clubbing.

Ibiza, the second smallest of the Balearic Islands, is one of the world’s most attractive islands, a gathering point for countless celebrities from the worlds of fashion, cinema, music and sport. The wonderful thing about the so called “White Island” is that it has as many faces and provides as many options as visitors can desire: beautiful safe white sand beaches, cosy coves, a relaxing inland with rural villages, lively coast towns with a rich heritage and the best nightlife you could ever dream of.

http://ibiza.travel/

Honeymooners and couples can relax in Ibiza’s crystal-clear waters, enjoy unforgettable sunsets, explore its natural beauty spots, taste local renowned cuisine and have fun in an evening out at one of the famous nightclubs and bars. During the day, try one of the diverse leisure activities: visit a hippie market, book a day boat tour to famous Formentera, go on-board and try a diving experience, join a tour and discover the island by Vespa bike, visit a farm-house and learn how to produce traditional herb liquor and artisan soap …

When the day is over, a broad offer of hotels and accommodations will be waiting for you, from internationally prestigious establishments to good boutique hotels, from beach resorts offering all-inclusive services to cosy rural villas for those looking for a relaxing stay away from tourist spots.

Looking for best privacy and luxury options? Rent one of the wonderful villas. Private pool, garden areas to relax, large serviced properties, surrounded by nature but still close to lively towns and beaches. Prefer to stay at a hotel but still keep privacy levels high? Check in at one of the boutique coast or countryside chateauforms.

Looking for a top accommodation in fancy Ibiza? Platja d’en Bossa, just off Ibiza Town, is the place. The famous Hard Rock Hotel and Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel are home to best DJ performances and parties.

Prefer a more only adult location but still not too far from Ibiza Town and its top party spots? Santa Eulàlia is your destination, surrounded of relaxing beaches and coves, with top quality hotels offering first class rooftop bars and beach clubs.

2021 will perhaps be a good chance to step away from crowds and discover hidden spots, quite beaches, activities to enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings …

And remember, before or after staying in Ibiza, take the chance and spare some days for a visit to Spain’s mainland cities. Ibiza offers several daily flight connections with Madrid and Barcelona, just 40min away from the latest. Bachelors and singles will enjoy big city life, with good nightlife, shopping, restaurants and fun experiences. Couples and honeymooners may like to extend the trip and immerse in Spanish culture and heritage. Start with Barcelona and continue afterwards to the south, where charming Andalusian cities are waiting with incredible monuments and cosy old towns. Madrid can be the departure city, easily connected from Sevilla, Córdoba and Málaga by fast train. Families may prefer to extend the stay in the fantastic beach resorts and end with a short visit to main capitals before heading back home.

To sum up, The White Island, is a must-visit location at least once in everybody’s life. Get in touch and we will send you all information for an upcoming escape to the most versatile Mediterranean island.

info@across-spain.es

#ibiza #ibiza2021 #ibizalovers #ibizaparty #visitspain #spain #familyholidays #beachholidays #mediterraneanlife #mediterraneanvibes #mediterranean #islandholiday

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Located at the southernmost tip of Spain, where the Med meets the Atlantic, Tarifa is famous for being the European Capital of kite-surfing. It is a small town with a walled old centre and a Moorish fort, offering fantastic water-sports all year round thanks to its reliable breezes and its kilometres of white sandy beaches. The town caters all needs of water-sports enthusiasts, who come from around the world to take advantage of its strong winds and waves.

https://www.cadizturismo.com/

Camping sites, apartments and hotels stretch along the beach just off old town, a wide range of restaurants and bars provide the best of the local gastronomy and wines, nightlife always ready for relaxing evenings and nights – nonetheless, most consider Tarifa has the most chilled out atmosphere ever.

Are you travelling with your surfer friends but prefer a more relaxed activity? No worries, non-surfers are well catered too, with a fascinating nature and ancient history backing in time to Moorish and Roman Empire eras.  The coastline is as popular with nature-lovers as with its unconditional surfing crowd. Bird-watching, horse-riding, scuba-diving, whale and dolphin-watching, rock-climbing … are perfect ways of engaging with the beautiful countryside and blue waters.

https://kitespot.reviews/en/activities-tarifa/

Tarifa for beginners

Though Tarifa is not an ideal beginner spot, it is said that if you learn kiting here you can kite anywhere. Summers are quite crowded, peak season that coincides with Spanish holidays and most European’s as well. Therefore early spring and late autumn may be the most recommendable seasons: less crowded and better prices for lessons and still good weather, good water temperature and air most days in the week. But remember, even if we are in southernmost European beaches, it is the Atlantic sea that waters the shores so long-suit (4/3) in spring, autumn and winter is 100% advisable while shorty is fine during summer.

There are two wind directions in Tarifa that switch on and off at irregular intervals throughout the year. The first type of wind is called Poniente; if you’re a beginner this is the kind of wind you should be kiting in. It’s a warm, onshore wind that blows from the west/northwest and brings moderate chop and 15-25 knots. The Levante is a cold, dense, off/cross-offshore wind that comes from the east/northeast and it’s much stronger and gustier, which makes it quite a bit harder to learn in (plus when you’re a beginner, offshore wind should be avoided at all costs).

When it comes to best beaches for learning, Los Lances is where most kite schools and other water sports facilities can be found. This 3km long stretch of beach is one of the better organised in all Spain, with a segregated area where schools can operate and where independent kite-boarders can ride.  Valdequeros, Punta Paloma and Las Dunas are also a great Poniente spot, just west of Tarifa itself and a perfect location for beginners and more advanced riders alike. The designated kiting area can get a bit busy during the peak summer months, but most of the time it’s a favourite for the locals because it works in more wind directions than some of the beaches closer to town. The après-surf is also a must, with some great beach bars and burgers, ideal for chilling out at after a big session.

Learning how to kite-surf and discovering Cádiz region

Beginner, intermediate and advanced courses as well as adapted courses for kids with maximum safety are all available in Tarifa. Experience kite-surf for the first time, improve your skills or just learn more skills and technics, there are programs for all profiles.

Travel in spring and autumn if you can, when beaches are not so crowded, so you can enjoy the kiting experience at most. Málaga, 2 hours away, is the nearest international airport, with most connections with main European capitals as well as some overseas destinations. A pleasant motorway 2 hour trip connects the airport with Tarifa.

https://www.spain.info/en/destination/tarifa/

Stay in a hotel, apartments, camping site or hostel, there are options to all budgets. Kite-surf material will be provided by instructors, adapted to your skills. A non-windy day is never a lost day during your stay. Surfing, beach volley, hiking, horse riding, SUP, kayaking … are all active “no wind experiences” and great fun for everyone.

Let’s not forget the rich cultural heritage that surround Tarifa. You made it all the way to Andalusia, one of the richest regions with most monumental cities and UNESCO heritage spots. Cádiz, Jerez, Gibraltar, the beautiful white-washed villages in the nearest mountains, Marbella, Ronda, even Sevilla if you have a couple of days spare, are all options to complete your stay.

https://www.cadizturismo.com/es/municipios/vejer-de-la-frontera

So, wish to learn & practice kitesurfing in a top destination with tons of wind, sun, warm weather and a wide range of spots surrounded by a beautiful scene? Let us know, we will send you more information.

sport@across-spain.es

#tarifa #cadiz #cadizturismo #tarifakite #kitesurf #kiting #watersports #visitspain #spain #activetourism

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Ibiza, the second smallest of the Balearic Islands, is one of the world’s most attractive islands,  a gathering point for countless celebrities from the worlds of fashion, cinema, music and sport. The wonderful thing about the so called “White Island” is that it has as many faces and provides as many options as visitors can desire: beautiful safe white sand beaches, cosy coves, a relaxing inland with rural villages, lively coast towns with a rich heritage and the best nightlife you could ever dream of.

www.ibiza.travel

Honeymooners and couples can relax in Ibiza’s crystal-clear waters, enjoy unforgettable sunsets, explore its natural beauty spots, taste local renowned cuisine and have fun in an evening out at one of the famous nightclubs and bars. During the day, try one of the diverse leisure activities: visit a hippie market, book a day boat tour to famous Formentera, go on-board and try a diving experience, join a tour and discover the island by Vespa bike, visit a farm-house and learn how to produce traditional herb liquor and artisan soap …

https://www.cottonlifestyle.com/cotton-beach-club-ibiza/

When the day is over, a broad offer of hotels and accommodations will be waiting for you, from internationally prestigious establishments to good boutique hotels, from beach resorts offering all-inclusive services to cosy rural villas for those looking for a relaxing stay away from tourist spots.

https://www.nobuhotelibizabay.com/

Bachelors and singles will discover the island’s lifestyle and have the best summer experience ever. Every summer, after end of May and until mid-September, Ibiza becomes the ultimate party destination in the Mediterranean, with the arrival of the cream of the world’s DJs. Partiers flock there to hit the dance floor in some of the biggest and most famous clubs in the world, from iconic spots like Amnesia, Pachá, Privilege and Hi Ibiza to the already legendary Ushuaïa. Nights will be long but nothing to worry about. By beautiful relaxing small beaches and coves there is plenty of smooth beach clubs where one can relax, from super-chilled chic to buzzing party vibe, there is sure an option that suits all moods.  Spare some day time for fun experiences, such a tour to a diving spot or some shopping in town.

Looking for a top accommodation in fancy Ibiza? Platja d’en Bossa, just off Ibiza Town, is the place. The famous Hard Rock Hotel and Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel are home to best DJ performances and parties. Prefer a more only adult location but still not too far from Ibiza Town and its top party spots? Santa Eulàlia is your destination, surrounded of relaxing beaches and coves, with top quality hotels offering first class rooftop bars and beach clubs. And if you are wandering if these locations fit your pocket, just go ahead, here are options for less fancy budgets.

https://www.theushuaiaexperience.com/

Families have also their place in the dream island. Ibiza is a safe destination offering peace of mind and the chance to enjoy suitable experiences for all ages in an unbeatable environment. Contrary to popular belief, during high season a large number of families arrive to the island in search of sea and sun. With lots of beaches to choose from ranging from long and thin, to small, wild and rugged, there is a place to make everyone pleased.

Most beaches are family-friendly and little ones can safely run around and bath in shallow crystal-clear waters. Family resorts with all facilities can be found next to family beaches in locations as Cala Llonga, Cala Bassa and Es Canà, with beaches that are almost like a large natural swimming pool. 

And remember, before or after staying in Ibiza, take the chance and spare some days for a visit to Spain’s mainland cities. Ibiza offers several daily flight connections with Madrid and Barcelona, just 40min away from the latest. Bachelors and singles will enjoy big city life, with good nightlife, shopping, restaurants and fun experiences. Couples and honeymooners may like to extend the trip and immerse in Spanish culture and heritage. Start with Barcelona and continue afterwards to the south, where charming Andalusian cities are waiting with incredible monuments and cosy old towns. Madrid can be the departure city, easily connected from Sevilla, Córdoba and Málaga by fast train. Families may prefer to extend the stay in the fantastic beach resorts and end with a short visit to main capitals before heading back home.

To sum up, The White Island, is a must-visit location at least once in everybody’s life. Get in touch and we will send you all information for an upcoming escape to the most versatile Mediterranean island.

info@across-spain.es

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The Ruta del Císter (the Cistercian route) is a spectacular religious route located inland from the Costa Daurada, in the region of Tarragona in Catalonia. It spans over 105 kilometres and links three breathtaking monasteries which date back to the Cistercian order in the 12th century. The Cistercian order was established in the French region of Burgundy in 1098 by a group of monks loyal to the “Rules of St. Benedict”. The order eventually established an important foothold in Europe and Spain, giving it a great influence over Christianity, economy and culture in Spain during the Middle ages. This influence and power eventually joined the regions of Alt Camp, Conca de Barberà and Urgell, which now have a Cistercian monastery each. The Cistercian Route has been one of the most spiritual routes since 1989 which can be followed in Catalonia, but it also provides the perfect opportunity to experience the culture, history, gastronomy and nature of the region.

 

The Monasteries

Santès Creus Monastery

This fascinating route begins in the region of Alt Camp, where you will find the Santès Creus Monastery. Situated on the banks of the river Gaià, the Monastery of Santa María de Santes Creus is a Cistercian abbey that was built in 1168 and today is one of the largest and best preserved in Spain. It is also the only one of the monasteries of the Cistercian Route in which there is no monastic life. During construction of the monastery, the monks followed the Rules of St. Benedict which meant that the church has to be oriented to the north and the cloister to the south. The church also had to have very austere decoration. The central part of the monastery includes the four basic pieces of the monastic life: the church, the cloister, the chapter hall and the residential areas.

Don’t miss the opportunity to take the tour of the monastery and explore the spaces from architectural and artistic points of view. Immerse yourself in the surroundings and let the medieval legends of this wonderful monastery be your guide. Guided and group tours are also available.

Highlights include the church, which contains a Romanesque portal from the 12th century and an imposing Gothic window with stained glass windows. The Gothic cloister, notable for the artistic quality of the ornamentation of the capitals. The monumental tombs, belonging to the royal family or to members of the Catalan nobility and the Royal Palace, built in several phases (XIII-XVI centuries) and has Gothic, Plateresque and Renaissance elements.

santa creus inside new

Santès Creus Monastery inside

santa creus outside

Santès Creus Monastery outside

 

Santa María de Poblet

The Royal Abbey of Santa María de Poblet was founded in 1551 in the region of Conca de Barbèra in Catalonia. Founded by Cistercian monks from France on land conquered from the Moors, it is one of the largest and most complete Cisterian monasteries in the world and in 1991 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its majestic architecture is what makes this monastery so impressive, which includes a fortified royal residence as well as the tombs for the kings and queens of Catalonia and Aragon. Santa María de Poblet consists of three enclosures and is surrounded by a defensive wall. The first outer enclosure contains 16th century buildings, which would have been storehouses, workshops, housing for lay workers and other premises which were connected with the financial life of the community.

Poblet Monastery also holds extraordinary importance in terms of art, history, spirituality and culture. It played a key party in the repopulation and agricultural exploitation of New Catalonia under the crown of Aragon. The monastery’s library and scriptorium were also recognised from the 13th century onwards for their contribution to law and history.

poblet outside 2

Poblet Monastery outside

poblet inside right

Poblet Monastery inside

 

Santa María de Vallbona

The Monastery of Santa Maria de Vallbona is a Cistercian monastery located in the town of Vallbona in the region of Urgell, Catalonia, Spain. Founded in the early 12th century, it is one of the most important monasteries in Catalonia and is the only female monastery that has been preserved for over 800 years of uninterrupted monastic life. First news date from 1153, but it was not until 1176 when it got completely integrated in the Cistercian order. It began with several groups of hermits that later became nuns and monks, a sort of double community that lived under the crozier of their founder, Ramon de Vallbona. It was declared a historic-artistic monument in 1931. The monastery offers guided and group tours to find out about all the details of the monuments and of the monastic life that has taken place there.

Although small in size, Vallbona de les Monges is a beautiful monastery which contains exponents of the importance of women in medieval times. The monastery’s church is a fine example of a Romanesque-Gothic blend, and each of the cloister’s splendid galleries are is a different style: Gothic, Arabic and Romanesque. Highlights of the monastery’s incredible architecture also include two gothic domes, and its well looked after inn where guests have the opportunity to stay overnight.

vallbona outside 2

Santa María Vallbona de les Monges Monastery outside

vallbona inside 2

Santa María Vallbona de les Monges Monastery inside

 

Tips for the route

On foot, it will take approximately 5 days to complete the route, or you could complete the route by bike in approximately 2 and a half days. However, if you have children or more elderly travellers, it is advised that you follow the route by car along the GR175 Trail.

The Cistercian Route can be done by anyone who is used to hiking, as it does not entail anything harder than some moderate slopes and the distance itself. You can also do it in as many stages as you like, depending on how much time you have and how fit you are.

 

Other Places to Visit

The Cistercian Route can involve so much more than just simply visiting the monasteries. Although they do not form part of the Cistercian Route, the towns of Montblanc and Valls are the perfect places to visit during your trip to discover the Catalonian culture.

Montblanc: a picturesque Catalonian village. Behind its walls you can enjoy a walk through its Midde Age streets. It is also worth visiting the Rock Art Interpretation Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998 situated in the Prades Mountains just 45 minutes away from Montblanc.

Valls: known for both its gastronomic and folkloric traditions. Known for its tradition of “human castles”, a 200 year old event which was even declared Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010.

prades museum 2

Rock Art Interpretation Centre in Prades Mountains

human castle 2

Human Castle in Valls

 

Other Activities to Include

There are also plenty of gastronomic, cultural, historical and artistic activities which can be incorporated into the trip:

  • Winery visits
    • Agrícola de Barberà de la Conca (approx. 17 min. from Poblet Monastery)
    • Celler Mas Bella (approx. 20 mins. from Santès Creus Monastery)
  • Museums
    • Alabaster Museum and “Touch Alabaster” Workshop (approx. 22 min. from Poblet Monastery)
    • Frederic Marès Art Museum (approx. 14 min. from Poblet Monastery)
  • Tasting local gastronomy

Prized local delicacies include: DOP les Garrigues extra virgin olive oil, calçots (tender onions) from Valls; torró (almond and honey nougat) and xocolata a la pedra (“stone chocolate”) from Agramunt, coques de recapte, (sausages, fish, and braised vegetables presented on a think pizza-like base); homemade cured sausages; and traditionally produced local cheeses, meat, dairy and vegetable preserves, and both sweet and dried fruits.

  • Catalonian UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Roman Archaeological Ensemble of Tarragona – Tarragona
  • Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí – Vall de Boí
  • Works of Antoni Gaudí (e.g. Park Güell, Casa Milà, Casa Battlò) – Barcelona, 1984

*distances measured by car

 

Airports

If you are coming from abroad to take part in the Cistercian Route, Barcelona El Prat Airport is the largest international airport in Catalonia, operating hundreds of international flights. It is located approximately 1 hour away by car from Tarragona and the Santès Creus Monastery. Another option is Reus Airport, which is just 34 minutes by car to the Santès Creus Monastery, however it is a smaller airport with fewer connections.

 

Map

map new 2

Map of la Ruta del Císter

 

If you enjoyed this article, please don’t forget to follow Across Spain Travel Chronicles for more information about Spain’s rich culture and history.

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Did you know that Spain is home to some of the most beautiful parks and gardens in the world? In fact, it holds more than 8,000 of the 9,000 European species of plants, making it a popular place for botanists and tourists. Below are five of the most famous:

  1. The Royal Palace Gardens, Aranjuez
  2. Park Guell, Barcelona
  3. Parque del Clot, Barcelona
  4. Gardens at the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos, Burgos
  5. Maria Luisa Park, Seville

The Royal Palace Gardens

The Royal Palace Gardens of Aranjuez surround the old Spanish Royal Residence which was built in the 1380s. The gardens are famous for their uniqueness, with more than 400 species of trees and bushes which are over 260 years old.

There are 3 main gardens surrounding the palace, each of them unique:

  1. The Parterre Garden

The flower beds, hedges and paths in this garden are beautifully constructed and well-trimmed forming an exquisite pattern in the garden. This intimate garden is perfect for a short stroll in the evening if you don’t enjoy long hikes!

  1. The Island Garden

What makes this garden unique is that it is located on an island in the Tagus River connected by a small bridge.

  1. The Prince’s Garden

Situated on 150 hectares of land, the Prince’s Garden is the largest of the three and nearly impossible to see in one day. One of the main attractions in the garden is the exquisite Chinese Pond.

 

Jardines-de-Aranjuez

The Royal Palace Gardens of Aranjuez, Madrid. Source: revistadearte.com

Park Guell Barcelona

Built in the 20th century by one of Spain’s most famous architects Antoni Gaudi, the modern architecture of Park Guell is masked in mosaic patterns and bright colours, which makes it an attractive spot for tourists who enjoy taking picturesque photographs. When you enter the park, you are greeted by the famous Park Guell dragon which leads you to the rest of the park.

In the beginning, the plan was to create a housing estate with the land on which Park Guell is built, however this plan was not successful as no one wanted to invest, therefore Gaudi bought the model house and lived there until he died in 1926.

It is hard to believe that before Gaudi designed this magnificent park, it was only composed of dry land with hardly any greenery. Now, not only can you enjoy the beautiful buildings but at the back of the monumental area, you can take a walk amongst native trees and plants whilst enjoying a spectacular view of the city.

park guell

View from the highest point of Park Guell. Source: rondalia.com

Parque del Clot, Barcelona

The Parque Del Clot is situated on 3.5 hectares of land with high bridges connecting either side of the park for pedestrians to cross. The chimney, arches and walls located in the Clot’s new green area, which was built in 1986, give evidence to the old mechanic workshops that were once there.

The park implements pre-existing architectural elements in a green space which makes it stand out. There are 4 different parts of the park: a long walk and three areas with a different purpose, making it perfect for all ages!

Barcelona_Parc_del_Clot_JMM

Parque del Clot in Barcelona. Photo by josemanuel

Gardens at the monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos

The monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos is one of the most characteristic monasteries in Spain, located next to the River Mataviejas on the land of Visigothic monastic establishments from the 7th century.

The Benedictine monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos demonstrates some of the most impressive work of European Medieval Art; whilst the cloisters of Santo Domingo represent one of the best examples of Roman Spain. Furthermore, they have become famous for their cypress which is thought to have been planted by one of the French Benedictine monks in 1882.

Santo Domingo de Silos-008

Gardens at the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silo. Source: lasimagenesqueyoveo.com

Maria Luisa Park, Sevilla

Located in Seville’s historic center along the Guadalquivir River, is one of Europe’s finest greeneries known as Maria Luisa Park. A walk through here is an ideal way to cool down in the summer whilst allowing you to take advantage of the beautiful sights and cultural activities in the fresh air.

The highlight of the park is the Plaza de España, the monumental legacy of the Ibero-American Exposition in 1929, which symbolized a crucial memory for Seville and the rest of the world.

If you visit the park today you will see numerous monuments, fountains, ponds, flowers and impressive buildings that were re-designed by the French landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier in 1911 which adds character to the park.

maria luisa park

The Maria Luisa Park in Sevilla. Source: pegnrope.com

If you enjoyed reading this post, please follow across spain Travel Chronicles for even more articles about Spain and its rich culture.

map week 11

 

 

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